Input by Wilfred R. Pangla
The familiar name in the Mangalorean Catholic Community "Maria Advertisers" is in its Decennial year. It has achieved a lot in its own way. This is the pioneer ad. agency which boosted the ad inflow of many of the Konkani periodicals. This has highlighted achievements of several people, associations and projects.
The man behind the wheel is himself a familiar personality. He is quite interested in many a fields. Perhaps he is not born in a well to do family with high background or Godfather. He lost his mother at the age of three and half years and was under the care of his grand mother and other family members. There is a saying in Kannada - " Ajji saakida mommaga, yavudakkoo nalaayak"(Grandson nurtured by grand mother is useless). But this case is not so. He has not inherited talents from birth. He was a shy boy during his childhood. But nobody knows what inspired him to climb the ladder of success the way he did. May be his inclination of hardwork and a zeal of continuity towards finishing the task in hand. In this path he was not succesful always though.
He did Diploma in Chemical Engineering of 3 years duration with 4th Rank in the State. He was a popular youth leader in his locality but was unsuccessful to be elected to the local Panchayat. He was an activist in so many associations with holding high posts but today because of a few shocks he is devoted full time to his livelihood business and is in the higher rungs of success ladder. This six feet two inches personality is a man of speciality.
Whatever he preaches he will practise it first. He taught his fellow members in the Catholic Youth Movement abstaining from alcohol. As a result he is still a teetotaler. During his youth days he advocated simple marriage functions among catholics and he practised it. His marriage function was so simple that Raknno weekly highlighted it the editorial coloumn, some priests quoted it in their sermons and people keep discussing here and there even today.
This is Herald Reginald Alva, in short H. R. Alva and to his known circle simply "H. R.", the Proprietor of Maria Advertisers.
HR was born as the third child to Thomas Alva and Maria Alva (nee Castelino) of Pangala Parish on 13-12-1959. (Their first child is Jessy, now in the Sisters of the Mercy of Holy Cross Congregation, Sr. Neeta, who was a famous teacher in Trasi (Kundapur), Kalyan and Mira Road, at present at Bidi in Belgaum District, in the mission of starting an educational centre. Second child is John Baptist, at present working in Bahrain). His father was a member of the crew in the Merchant Navy belonging to British. His mother was a simple house wife who died during maternity on 13 march 1963 at a young age of 29.
HR secured Diploma degree in Chemical Engineering (D. Ch. E.) at Karnataka Polytechnic, Mangalore. He joined the Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd. Panambur (MCF) and worked for 12 years. During this time he studied for B.A. of Mysore University ( 3 years) and M.A. in Political Science ( 2 years) of Karnataka University of Dharwad. (Both Correspndence Courses). He studied LL. B. (Bachlelor of Laws) at the Sri Dharmastala Manjunatheshwara Law College, Kodialbail, Mangalore for 3 years attending morning classes.
With an intention to do something on his own he left the MCF on 4th May 1994 and started Maria Advertisers on 11th May 1994 at Shankerpura, with an intention to stay at Pangala, his home town and a village, which is about 50 kms away from Mangalore and to involve himself in social activities. Within a period of 3 months, he expanded his business venture in Mangalore city,in a rented table space area.
On 31st May 1995 he shifted his office to the present venue, 5,II Floor, Medifair Complex, Karangalpady, Near Bunts Hostel.
Maria Advertisers are the Advertising Agents for dailies especially of Kannada and English and for periodicals of Konkani and other languages. They design and send camera/print ready material to the publications. Maria has a good rapport with ad as well as news departments of the publications. This helps Maria to highlight about their clients in the print media. Another added advantage is that HR himself is a prolific writer in Konkani & Kannada.
Today Maria Advertisers have a long list of clients which runs hundreds in number. Of them some are supporting Maria constantly. Among them major ones are M.C.C. Bank Ltd., Western Ghats Pharmaceuticals, Bangalore and Western Ghats Herbals, Mangalore (Owned by Mr. O.J. Colaco of 'Forestica' Fame), Nithyakrupa Batteries (owned by Lion Vincent Castelino).
Apart from them several people without discrimination of caste and creed have suported Maria constantly.
"During the past ten years the firm, 'Maria Advertisers' has run through good and bad days. During these times several people have supported us in one or the other way" gratefully says HR and acknowledges their support. He specially thanks Lion Dr.Austin D'Souza Prabhu, his mentor, and a leading personality of Chicago, U.S.A., for his support. HR gratefully remembers Albert W. D'Souza, Managing Director of Printania Offset Pvt. Ltd., a Pangalite and a leading Businessman of Mumbai, who is constantly supporting Maria Advertisers. "There are also others in big numbers especially from Gulf countries who are extending their goodwill to us. We have a band of Priests, Nuns, Relaives and friends in our supporters list-" exclaims H.R.
"Raknno, Divo and Udayavani are the publications which have been supporting us a lot" - says HR and acknowledges their support.
"During the first year everything went on well. Ours was the first and the only ad. agency in our community at that time. Problems started emerging from the second year. A few of our customers cheated us by not paying the amount of the tune of a few lakhs. Those were our real difficult days. In that situation, Melwyn P. Noronha, young and efficient Lawyer of Mangalore and my friend and his colleagues at "MANU Advocates" fought on our behalf in the courts of law to recover the amount. We have succeeded in all the 4 court cases and got the amount with penal interest" says H.R. with a sigh of relief and thanks Advocate Noronha and his team profusely.
There is a saying - "Behind the success of every man there is a woman" . Behind HR's success story the lady is Concepta bai. Concepta Fernandes hails from a large family of Mudarangady. Concepta is a successful woman. A Double Post Graduate (M.A. in Economics, regular studies of Mangalore University and M.A. in English -Correspondence studies of Dharwad University) and a PG Diploma in Konkani of St. Aloysius College - Institute of Konkani. Concepta holds the post of Transmission Executive at the All India Radio Station, Mangalore with Konkani section incharge. She has introduced many a talents to the listerners. (Her achievements itself will suffice for a separate article).
"Ours is a love marriage. We were in love for 6 long years before our marriage which was solemnized on the first day of 1992. We got to know each other through of our activities, and common interests. We had no much means initially to start our life together. But we had a courage to face situations. Though many had discouraged me on my decision to resign from MCF, Concepta was the only suporter, understanding me fully " exclaims HR.
This happily married couple has a Son -Harsha Claver, in IV Std. and a Daughter - Heera Maria, in II Std., both studying at Urwa St. Aloysius School.
This article may not be complete if I fail to give the details of activities of HR, which gave him a name and fame.
HR as a Youth Leader: H.R.Alva is the only rural youth who rose to the Mangalore Diocesan Central Council of Catholic Youth Movement for the 3rd consecutive year. For his services rendered to the youth he had an opportunity to attend the youth programmes in France and Italy for about 2 months in 1988 through CBCI Youth Commission, New Delhi.
HR joined CYM unit of Pangala at his 16 years age and from there he never looked back. He occupied various positions at the Parish, Varado and Diocese level. Due to his hard work and simplicity he was popular among youth and parish leaders of that time. Through CYM HR organised many a rare and new programmes at his native parish Pangala including - Inter Parish Singing, Elocution, Drama, Quiz and other events for the youth of Shirva, Kallianpur, Kinnigoli and other varados for several years. When he was a student at Karnataka Polytechnic he founded the Young Technicians Movement (Y.T.M.) for the Catholic Students of Polytechnic and I.T.I. with the help of Rev. Fr. Stanley R. Pereira, the then Director of Canara Communications Centre, Mangalore.
He organised even District Level Aquatic Competitions through Kattikere Jalakreedabhivriddhi Samithi, Moodabettu, Katapadi with the help of Oscar Fernandes,M.P, Vasanth V. Salian,M.L.A. of Kaup Constituency(presently a Minister of Karnataka state), Rtn. P. Vittal Shenoy(Retd. Headmaster of Innanje High School), Rtn. S.S. Soans(Social Activist) and others. (Kattikere is a water pond believed to be constructed during the time of Koti-Chennaya on N.H. 17 at Moodabettu in between Katapadi and Pangala).
Church connected activities: HR occupied prominent positions at the Parish, Varado and Diocese level nearly for 2 decades. He was the Secretary and Vice-President of Pangala Parish, Secretary of Shirva Varado Mandali and the first lay Secretary of the Pastoral Council of Diocese of Mangalore for consecutive 2 terms of 3 years each. Wherever he worked he raised his voice for the betterment of the people. He was the Founder Member of the Catholic Sabha, Diocese of Mangalore and worked under Mr. Oscar Fernandes, its Founder President. He was the Editor of Decennial Souvenir of Catholic Sabha. HR was the Diocesan Youth Representative of the St. Vincent De Paul Society at the Karnataka State Level Committee. Appreciating his services to the Community the then Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Basil S. D'Souza solemnised his nuptials at Pangala and about 50 priests had concelebrated the mass, though his marriage took place on the first day of 1992 in a very simple way.
HR is the Managing Trustee of "Maria Alva Trust", a Charitable trust formed in memory of his mother. With the patronage of this Trust, "Womens Conference " has been organised by the Christian Mothers Sodality of Pangala every year.
HR in the Social field: HR was the Founder member of Rotary Club, Shankerpura(1984) and its President in 1994-95. He was in the Publicity Committee of Rotary International District 3180 comprising of Dakshina Kannada, Hassan, Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Mysore and Coorg. As Chairman of Rotaract Clubs (Youth Wing of Rotary) HR founded Rotaract Clubs at Kaup and Shankerpura. He was the President of Nagarika Samithi (Citizens Forum), Shankerpura which works for Citizens rights and create awareness among people. During his tenure he conducted several public meetings with the people's representatives, departmental heads and others. With an intention to start a Co-operative Society of jasmine growers a meeting was convened at Shankerpura in which the then Co-operative Minister of Karnataka State Mr. S.S. Morei, Mrs. Manorama Madhwaraj, the then M.L.A.of Udupi, Mr. Vasanth V. Salian, M.L.A., Mrs. Leena Mathias, the then Vice-President of D.K. Zilla Panchayat and others participated. But due to various reasons the move was not materialised. HR was the secretary of "Farm Information Exchange Centre" of Shankerpura and the member at Pangala.
HR was the Joint Secretary of the St. Christopher Association, which runs St. Christopher Hostel, at Rosario Cathedral premises. He is the life member of that Association. He was also the Director of Mangalore Autorickshaw and Car Operators Co-operative Society which runs the famous MACO petrol pump at Balmatta, Mangalore.
Literary Activities: HR is a known writer in Konkani and Kannada. His writings have been published in Kannada dailies and Konkani periodicals including Raknno, Poinnari, Divo etc. He contibutes articles on various topics.He is quite familiar for social concerned articles and profiles. He wrote short stories, poems, humourous write-ups etc. As a journalist he contributes to many a Kannada and English dailies as well as Konkani periodicals. Besides a few short plays he wrote a 3 hours political play "Andhkaanthlem Kitaal" which was staged at Shankerpura, Udupi, Shirva and Ferar. He was the Secretary of St. John's Natak Sabha, Shankerpura through which he had organized many a Konkani and Tulu dramas, Musical Bonanzas etc. He was an actor too. He was the Editor of over 20 Souvenirs brought out by many associations on various occasions.
His major achievement was the launching of "Amcho Yuvak" monthly magazine. There was "Bhavadthi Yuvak" monthly started in early 60s and stopped in early '70s. Thereafter Yuvak had been published by CYM duing 3-4 special occasions with limited pages. HR tried to procure earlier copies of Bhavadthi Yuvak but he didn't succeed in getting them. As this was the case he launched "Amcho Yuvak" which was inaugurated by Mr. Oscar Fenandes, M.P. on 4th August 1983 at the Annual Conference held at Shirva. He was its Editor for 3 successive years and during this period gave ample opportunities to budding youth writers.HR also launched "Panglacho Prakaas", the Parish Bulletin of Pangala Parish. This is the first Parish Bulletin in the northern part of the Mangalore Diocese. He was the editor of it for 6 years.
H.R. was the member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Raknno Weekly for many a years.He is the life member of Konkani Bhasha Mandal, Karnatak, Mangalore. HR is a regular contibutor of All India Radio, Mangalore since 1978 (HR's better-half Concepta joined AIR in 1989).
Educational Activities: HR served in the Executive committees of St. Johns Schools for several years. He founded the St. John's Schools Old Students' Association at Shankerpura and he was its President for over a decade. He served as a member of the Golden Jubilee Committee of S.V.H. Pre-University College, Innanje. At present he is a member of the Promotion Committee of St. Joseph Engineering College, Vamanjoor, run by the Diocese of Mangalore.
As an Orator: HR is a powerful orator too. He had bagged several prizes in the Inter-Collegiate and other Elocution and debate competitions. For many years he was a Master of Ceremonies in many a social programmes in his locality. Conducted seminars at various places of Mangalore Diocese.
H. R. Alva can be contacted at:
Maria Advertisers, No.5, II Floor, Medifair Complex, Karangalpady, Near Bunts Hostel, Mangalore - 575 003, India.
Telephone: +91-824-2495793 Tele / Fax: +91-824-2495300 Mobile: 94481 45793